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Australian Statement for the urgent debate on Belarus

18 September 2020

Australia is deeply concerned at the deteriorating human rights situation in Belarus and thanks the High Commissioner for highlighting this issue in her Oral Update to the Council.

Australia was disappointed by the conduct of the Presidential elections on 9 August and the lack of transparency regarding the result.

We are concerned at the arbitrary detention of protesters, journalists and opposition members, both before and after the election. Australia calls on Belarus to free imprisoned presidential candidates and members of the opposition and those detained during peaceful protests.

We deplore reports of the use of violence against peaceful protesters exercising their democratic freedoms. Australia supports all peoples' right to assemble and protest peacefully.  We are very concerned by reports of beatings and torture in places of detention, and call for independent investigations into these reports and the prosecution of those responsible.

We call for an end to any further violence and for the human rights of the Belarusian people to be respected.

We reiterate our previous disappointment that Belarus continues its policy of non-engagement with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus.

We urge the Government of Belarus to engage constructively with UN mandate holders, and to respect the rights and legitimate democratic aspirations of its people.

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